The greatest gift is the
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Jack Kornfield's Dharma Talks at Spirit Rock Meditation Center
Jack Kornfield
Over the years of teaching, I've found a growing need for profound lovingkindness and compassion--a transformation of the heart--to underlie the insights and understandings that come out of the practice. An opening of the mind needs to be supported by compassion from the heart if the practice is to be integrated, fulfilled, and lived in our lives.
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2022-10-03 Beacon of Love Meditation | Monday Night 24:48
Some of you may have your own way of practicing metta/lovingkindess meditation. Others may want to listen and follow along—but it’s not a rigid practice. Do whatever most naturally opens the heart. For some people, the recitation of words—which we’ll do—may be helpful. For others, it’s more helpful to simply sit in a field of love and radiate kindness without a lot of words, specific language, or intention. Whatever floats your heart—follow that into goodness.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2022-09-12 The Reality of the Present Meditation | Monday Night 27:09
With your eyes closed, sense yourself seated here in the reality of the present, just now—be here now, in this moment. Feel a connection to the ground beneath you—you're held to Mother Earth by gravity. Feel the steadiness, groundedness of taking this seat half way between Heaven and Earth, under your own tree of enlightenment. Let the heart be soft to receive whatever arises in the spirit of kindness and compassion.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2022-08-22 Tree of Enlightenment Meditation | Monday Night 24:53
Let your body be present and also relaxed. As you let go, feel how the Earth completely supports you. Let the heart be soft to receive whatever arises with compassion. Begin to notice how the body is breathing itself, exchanging air with the leaves of the trees around you and with the breath of every other living being on Earth—we share this atmosphere.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2022-08-22 The Buddha's Last Teachings | Monday Night Talk 60:27
This dharma talk centers around teachings from The Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta which is a story about the last year of the Buddha's life. This text has two main themes: 1. The Buddha wanted to leave his teachings as guidance for his followers to empower them. 2. The Buddha wanted to encourage his followers to foster wise relationships to one another in the spiritual community and to the world.
Cultivating Concentration
2022-07-25 Guided Lovingkindness Meditation | Monday Night 28:09
There’s no wrong way to do metta or lovingkindness. Sometimes the practice of cultivating lovingkindness is simply to radiate love without words. Sometimes it’s to begin by holding yourself with kindness. Lovingkindness can be an antidote to anxiety and fear. We become more gracious with the difficulties of life as we open the heart.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2022-07-25 Wise Society | Monday Night Talk 55:48
The inner practice of liberation is not an individual matter. One of the deepest realizations that comes when we meditate, as we pay attention, as we live a life of care and loving awareness, is the growing sense of interdependence. There is no separation between our body and the body of the earth. The minerals of the soil make up our wheat and our bones, the storm clouds become our drinks and our blood, the oxygen from the trees and forests is the air we breathe. The human community is equally interconnected. If we meet together in harmony and respect, care for the vulnerable among us, tend to the environment, and respect our citizens and neighbors, we will thrive and prosper.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2022-06-27 Centering Meditation | Monday Night 26:30
Rest in the reality of the present with mindful, loving awareness. Sit like a Buddha, steady and kind, with heart open, gracious and wise in the midst of it all. You are the loving witness; you are the steady one.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2022-06-27 Mindful Respect | Monday Night Talk 54:10
In India, when people greet one another they put their palms together and bow, saying namaste, “I honor the divine within you.” It is a way of acknowledging your Buddha nature, who you really are. When I was training as a Buddhist monk, I witnessed an aura of straightforwardness, graciousness, and trust around my teacher Ajahn Chah. Here was a community dedicated to treating each person with respect and dignity. In the monastery, the walking paths were swept daily, the robes and bowls of the monks were tended with care. We learned to value ourselves and others equally. Whether practiced in a forest monastery or anywhere else, mindfulness practice begins by deliberately cultivating respect, starting with ourselves. When we learn to rest in our own goodness, we can see the goodness more clearly in others.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2022-05-16 The Most Basic Truths: Gateways to Freedom | Monday Night Talk 53:39
When I first entered the monasteries in Thailand and Burma, I was taught everything is anicca (impermanent), dukkha (unsatisfactory), and anatta (no-self). The reason these were repeated over and over again is because if you see these, you see with the eyes of wisdom. Because everything is changing, the more you cling and hold on, the more you suffer. To free ourselves, we need to quiet the mind through some mindfulness in meditation. Then, instead of identifying with the changing conditions, we learn to release them and turn toward consciousness itself, to rest in the knowing. My teacher Ajahn Chah called this pure awareness, "the original mind," or resting in "the one who knows." As the Jiddu Krishnamurti said, “It is the truth that liberates, and not your efforts to be free.” With practice, we discover the selflessness of experience; we shift identity. We can be in the midst of an experience, being upset or angry or caught by some problem, and then step back from it and rest in pure awareness. We let go; we release holding any thought or feeling as "I" or "mine." We release the whole sense of identification, and the conditioned world is just anicca (impermanent), dukkha (unsatisfactory), and anatta (empty of self) -- it has nothing to do with our true nature. We learn to trust pure awareness itself. This is one of the ways Ajahn Chah taught about liberation. Awakening is always here and now. Practicing this way, your life is transformed.
Monday and Wednesday Talks
2022-05-16 Here and Now Meditation | Monday Night 28:20
Let yourself be settled. Turn your attention to here and now, and the present experience. You can rest on the Earth with ease and trust in this moment. With this embodied presence, begin to notice the experiences here and now. There will be sensations of the body, sounds, emotions, feelings. A parade of images and thoughts will come and go. You can take your seat just where you are, in the midst of these rising and passing experiences.
Monday and Wednesday Talks

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